What is Ignatian Spirituality?
Why has it become appreciated by people from a variety of faith backgrounds? It has been found to be helpful for those searching to develop more faith and meaning in life, for those relatively new to prayer and for those trying to pray in the midst and busy ness of life.
Ignatian spirituality arose 500 years ago from a man – Ignatius of Loyola. It is a spirituality which seeks to imitate Christ through prayer, discernment and action. It is a wholistic approach to both God and life which doesn’t withdraw from the world but seeks to encounter and respond to God, present and active in the world. It emphasises ‘finding God in all things’ in all our daily lived experiences. Ignatian Spirituality sees God as actively working in the world and aims to help us understand and identify his actions in our lives and in the world around us. It is a way to pray; it is an approach to making decisions, a point of view about God and a practical guide to everyday life.
Ignatian Spirituality is essentially experiential with different ways of praying suggested to enter and deepen experiences and awareness.
The Charism of Ignatian Spirituality could be summarised as:
- The Recognition that God looks on us with great love
A discerning heart as a way of life
The practice of Examen – reflecting on our daily life
- God desires to be in relationship with each one of us
God is constantly communicating with us and showing us who he is.
God is active in the world now with us all and an expectation of Finding God in all Things
Essentially an optimistic view of the world- faith hope, shot through with divine love
A reflective and reverential approach and attitude to living in our world and the expectation of ‘finding God in all things’
The benefits of Ignatian spirituality can increase our self-awareness, learning and direction and develop a more fulfilled life.
St Ignatius of Loyola offered several ‘exercises’ to assist with this prayerful approach they include:
- Lectio Divina – meditative prayerful reading
Use of imaginative prayer with scripture- contemplation
Finding God when reflecting on our everyday experiences in daily life -Examen
Gratitude and thankfulness
Finding God through Art and Creation
There are many groups; apps and resources that can assist and guide you in this approach see resources below (this is not an exhaustive list)
It is helpful to talk with someone experienced in introducing and guiding you through the approach perhaps participate in introductory days and weekend retreats to engage and develop your experience and understanding.
May God Bless you as you walk with him in your faith journey.
Further information and resources:
- Aig Fois – website and Facebook page: www.Aigfois.co.uk
- Epiphany Group – www.epiphanygroup.org.uk
- A group of people within Scotland who guide and lead in this approach. Resource and event information – Ignatian Spirituality centre Glasgow (also one in London): www.iscglasgow.co.uk
- Pathways to God website – www.pathwaystogod.org
- Pray as you Go
- 3-minute retreat
- Take time
- Loyola Press has many books and materials on offer.
- Margaret Silf
- Richard Rohr
Our thanks to Gill Gibson for this explanation